How to Travel Safely During Tornado Season

Travel Safely During Tornado SeasonFor all you business travelers out there - do you know what to do if you're on the road and tornado sirens go off? Developing some emergency weather know-how ahead of time can help protect you and your co-workers while traveling.

Tornado Alley is considered the most tornado-prone region in the country. However; it is important to remember that tornados can occur in almost any state. The months of April through June are considered the height of tornado season in most places.

Smart business travelers make it a standard practice during high storm season to check out tornado warnings and watches. The brief amount of time this takes can make the difference between being caught in tornado-level winds and being safe in a secure shelter.

Experienced travelers who have been through tornado watches and warnings may be able to recognize a tornado-ready sky. It is often tinted green and the atmosphere is usually humid and heavy.

But in order to ensure severe weather preparedness, every traveler should take the time to watch the news and weather forecast, go to weather sites online or look for smart phone apps that show the weather at a glance. It also is smart to get in the habit of monitoring severe weather advisories. The NOAA's National Weather Service Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services is a great place to start. 

Below are some other tips on how to stay safe from severe storms while traveling. 

If you are at a hotel:

  • Do not take shelter in areas under free-spanning roofs that aren't supported by interior columns or pillars.
  • If there is no basement or designated safe area, take shelter in interior hallways or rooms on the lowest floor possible.
  • Stay away from windows and outside walls.
  • Ask at check-in about the procedure if there's a tornado warning.
  • Don't delay in going to the pre-designated shelter area.

On the road:

  • If conditions appear right for a tornado, do not drive!
  • Do not ignore the signs - tune in to weather alerts if skies look threatening and it is humid, windy and hot.
  • If it's possible to get lower than the level of the roadway, take shelter in a low-lying area but be aware it may flood.
  • If there's no shelter, park - but not in a traffic lane. Stay in your car with your seat belt fastened. If debris is blowing by, keep your head below window level and covered.
  • Do not try to out-drive severe weather. Tornados often change direction.
  • Stay away from trees and cars that can become flying debris.
  • Take shelter in a sturdy building, preferably where you can move to the basement level. Move away from windows.
  • Avoid highway overpasses - despite popular myth, they aren't safe refuge. Wind moving through them actually may increase in speed!

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